The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
February 19, 1880 The Sacrifice Demanded of Us
Filed under: EG White Articles

demands all. If he required less, the made by him was too dear, and too great to bring us up to such a level. Our cries out separation. We should not be , or to dead, heartless professors, but be by the . This is a self-denying way. But if we think it too straight; if we think that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; or if we say, How hard to give up all, let us ask ourselves this question, What did Christ give up for me?

The infinite sacrifice he made eclipses all we call self-denial. Behold him in the garden sweating great drops of blood. Follow him on his way to the judgment hall, while he is derided, mocked and insulted by that infuriated mob. Behold him clothed in that old purple robe. Hear the coarse jest and cruel mocking, see his enemies place upon that noble head the crown of thorns, and then smite him with a reed, causing the thorns to penetrate his temples, and the blood to flow from that holy brow; hear that murderous throng eagerly crying for the blood of the Son of God; see him delivered into their hands, and led away, pale, weak, and fainting, to his crucifixion; see him stretched upon the wooden cross, and the nails driven through his tender hands and feet; behold him hanging upon the cross in agony, until the sun refuses to shine, and the angels veil their faces from the horrid scene,– then ask yourself the question, Does he require too much in asking me to give up the world and deny self? No, no.

A divided, half-hearted life causes doubt and darkness. Persons living thus do not enjoy the consolations of religion, neither the pleasures which the world gives. It is a blessed privilege to give up all for Christ. It is safe to follow him who is the only true, unerring pattern. If others act on the principle of the spiritual sluggard, we should leave them, and march forward to the elevation of Christian character. Let us not sleep at our post, but deal faithfully and truly with our own souls.

The indulgence of light reading and tales of fiction produces a false, unhealthy excitement of the mind, and unfits it for any spiritual exercise. It weans the soul from prayer, and love for spiritual things. Reading that will throw light upon the sacred volume, and increase one’s desire to study it, is not dangerous, but beneficial. The oftener and more diligently the Scriptures are read, the more beautiful will they appear, and the less relish will one have for light reading. The daily study of the Scriptures will have a sanctifying influence upon the life. Then let us bind to our hearts this precious volume which will never fail to prove a friend and guide in perplexity.

How many have fixed their hopes on earthly objects, and how earnestly and perseveringly have they labored to obtain them, yet without realizing their anticipations. But there is an object before all worthy of a life-long effort. It is the salvation of our souls–everlasting life. And this demands self-denial, sacrifice and close study. If we gain eternal life, we must live for it and deny self; come out from the world and be separate. Our life must be marked with sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. Angels are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. All our words and acts are passing in review before God.

It is a fearful, solemn time. The hope of eternal life should not be cherished upon slight grounds; it should be settled between God and our own souls. Some will lean upon the judgment and experience of others, rather than be at the trouble of a close examination of their own hearts; and thus pass along for months and years without any witness of the Spirit of God, or evidence of their acceptance. Such are deceiving themselves. They suppose they have a hope, but lack the essential qualifications of a Christian.

God’s people are peculiar. Their spirit cannot mingle with the spirit and influence of the world. None desire to meet Jesus with a profession only, and thus be disappointed of eternal life. Then let us examine the grounds of our hope thoroughly, and deal truly with our own soul. Let us decide now whether we will follow Christ at any sacrifice or any cost.
                                                            Mrs. E. G. White

Jenny @ 7:09 pm
September 4, 1879 The Work for This Time.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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When we reflect upon the amazing to fallen man, and view the small returns we make to him for this great , we feel deeply humbled. , and of the , cannot find room in the hearts of . To be a is to be . Self is so interwoven in the nature of some that it is the ruling of their , and not only stands in their own way of attaining , but is a constant to . A vast army might be brought to through personal effort if did not obstruct the way. 

Many professed will talk and weep over the of , the he bore up , his , and to ; while at the same time they refuse to co-operate with Christ in working as he worked, in self-denial and sacrifice for the good of souls. They refuse to drink of the cup, or be baptized with the baptism.

Let all those who profess to believe in Christ follow his example, and they will be doing a great work for Jesus. It is easy to cry, when it is popular to do so, “Never man spake like this man,” and to echo the hosannas to the Son of David; though we do not the things he bids us, and do not follow his example in self-denial, and in working to do others good. True religion has to do with the heart and life. All who are true followers of Jesus will have a special interest to work for the Master, whose servants they profess to be, in gathering souls into the ranks of Christ. The Christian life does not consist altogether of meditation and prayer, although these are essential, but of earnest, active working, as well as meditating and praying.

Those who are truly converted to the truth and who love Christ will feel their individual responsibility to make personal efforts for the salvation of others. They cannot be indifferent in this respect. They will see and feel the dangerous position of their friends, and of all who oppose the truths which to them are sacred and dear. They will desire to be actively employed in the work of seeking to win them to the truth. When men and women are convinced of the truth and decide to obey it, they have then only enlisted as Christ’s soldiers. The work is all before them, to be doers as well as hearers of the word, and receivers of the heavenly gift. To be merely a passive Christian, receiving blessings, and not an earnest worker, is to be a novice and a dwarf in spiritual things.

The moon and the stars would not essentially benefit us if they retained for themselves their beauty and glory, and did not give to us the light they receive from the sun. The earth itself responds to the showers of rain, and the gentle dew, and the warming rays of the sun, and returns to us its bounties in grains, fruits, and flowers.

Man, the noblest work of God, made in his divine image, is found the most ungrateful. Christ comes to every individual to see what he is doing, and frequently finds neither fruits, nor blossoms, but only leaves.

Some are hearers of the word but not doers. They receive the heavenly benefits, but feel no responsibility to advance the cause of truth and save souls by their personal efforts. The divine command is two-fold; to not only be hearers, but doers, of the word. We are to receive the word ourselves and impart to others the precious light we have received. As we accept the truth, we virtually pledge ourselves to be workers with Christ, and to be consecrated to his service, and no longer live to do our will, and serve ourselves, but to be faithful servants of the Master to whom we have yielded ourselves servants to obey. The commission of Christ to his disciples was, to go and preach the gospel to every creature. We have a worldwide message.

After men and women have received the truth, it is not to their advantage to depend upon their more experienced brethren to hold them up, and carry them to Heaven. They should be instructed that in order to grow spiritually strong, they must be earnest workers to lead others to the truth, as they were led. If those who receive the truth value its importance they will receive ten-fold more encouragement and confidence in seeing their more experienced brethren and the ministers of Christ laboring in new fields, preaching the gospel to unbelievers, and bringing scores to the knowledge of the truth, than to be devoting their precious time and talents to taking care of them.

Missionaries are wanted throughout the great harvest field, self-sacrificing, and who will do as their Master has given them an example in his life

Ministers to whom is intrusted the most sacred message of warning ever given to the world, have confined their labors too much to looking after the few who have embraced the truth, when their principal labor should have been for those who have not heard the message. There are those who think it is their duty to preach the truth, but they dare not venture from the shore, and they catch no fish. They will choose to go among the churches, over and over the same ground. They report a good time, a pleasant visit, but we look in vain for the souls that are converted to the truth through their instrumentality. These ministers hug the shore too closely. Let them launch out into the deep, and cast their net where the fish are. There is no lack of work to be done. There could be hundreds employed in the vineyard of the Lord where there is now one.

God never does what man can do. We have individually, as servants of Jesus Christ, a work to do in unison with Christ, in saving our fellow-men from perdition. While we do with heart and might what we can in the use of means, God alone can make our efforts effectual. He can clothe the humblest and weakest with wonderful power, and manifest his excellence in our sincere human efforts.

If, after souls have embraced the truth, and have had years of experience, they have not strength to stand alone in the truth with the help God has promised them, and if they are incapable of helping others to the light, they are like the barren fig tree which Jesus cursed. Because, although apparently flourishing, he found upon the tree neither blossoms nor fruit, nothing but leaves.

There are in our churches those who profess the truth who are only hindrances to the work of reform. They are clogs to the wheels of the car of salvation. This class are frequently in trial. Doubts, jealousies, and suspicion, are the fruits of selfishness, and seem to be interwoven with their very natures. I shall name this class chronic church-grumblers. They do more harm in a church than two ministers can undo. They are a tax to the church and a great weight to the ministers of Christ. They live in an atmosphere of doubts, jealousies, and surmisings. Much time and labor of the embassadors of Christ are required to undo their work of evil, and restore harmony and union in the church. This takes from the courage and strength of God’s servants and unfits them for the work he has for them to do in saving perishing souls from ruin. God will reward these troublers of Zion according to their works. The ministers of Christ should take their position, and not be hindered in their work by these agents of Satan. There will be enough of these to question, and quibble, and criticise, to keep the ministers of God constantly busy, if they will allow themselves to be detained from the great work of giving the last saving message of warning to the world. If the church has no strength to stand against the unsanctified, rebellious feelings of church-grumblers, it is better to let church and grumblers go overboard together than lose the opportunity of saving hundreds who would make better churches, and have the elements existing within themselves of strength and union and power.

The very best way for ministers and churches is to let this fault-finding, crooked class fall back into their own element and pull away from the shore, launch out into the deep, and cast out the gospel net again for fish that may pay for the labor bestowed upon them. Satan exults when men and women embrace the truth who are naturally fault-finding and who will throw all the darkness and hindrance they can against the advancement of the work of God. Ministers cannot now in this important period of the work be detained to prop up men and women who see and have once felt the force of the truth. They should fasten believing Christians on Christ, who is able to hold them up and preserve them blameless unto his appearing, while they go forth to new fields of labor.

I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to be self-reliant in the strength of Jesus. Do not hang the weight of your perplexities and burdens upon your ministers. Christ has invited you to come to him, your burden-bearer. If you pass along in a state of unbelief and lack of consecration to God, you hang your weight upon the heart of your ministers, and you take just so much time and strength from them which God requires them to use in giving the message to those who have not heard it. Brethren, will you not rather work yourselves in union with the embassadors of Christ in seeking to win souls to the truth? When tempted to become unbelieving and discouraged, you will find the very best cure for this in talking faith to others, and in presenting the truth to those who are in darkness. Extend your efforts to your neighbors, and to those who have not the privileges of meetings. Sow the seeds of truth beside all waters, and encourage the hearts of the servants of God when they visit you by showing that you have not been idle, but through your instrumentality one or more have been brought from darkness to light. You can keep above despondency and doubt by making it your practice to daily pray for the blessing of God to rest upon the men who are presenting the solemn message of warning to the world. Let your prayers follow the servants of God like sharp sickles in the harvest field. God will hear the earnest entreaties of his people. The prayer of faith will move the arm of God.

A great work is before us. We need the help of every one. The cause will need not only money but earnest workers. We believe that the time has fully come when the work should be enlarged and extended on the Pacific coast. The men who work for God in faith, willing to endure, and suffer toil, privation, and reproach, will be the very men whom God will accept, and make powerful to do his great work. We shall not be stinted for means if we will only work, trusting and believing in God.

Missionaries are wanted to carry the message of warning to other lands. God will accept of men who have devoted hearts, whom he can teach, and impress, and polish, by his own divine hand. God will require personal service at the hands of every one to whom he entrusts his truth. Not one is excused. Some may feel that if they give their substance they are excused from personal efforts. But God forbid that they should deceive themselves in this. Gifts of means do not meet the requirement of God, for the duty is but half done. He will accept nothing short of yourselves. You must work to save souls. All will not be called to go to foreign missions, but you may be missionaries at home in your own families and in your neighborhoods. There is work for you to do for God that you do not see and do not feel, because you have not wanted to see, and know, and do, because your worldly interests and your arrangements in business would be interrupted.

Christ called fishermen from their nets to do his work, and they left them and followed him. He called Matthew, a publican, from his business to follow him, and he obeyed the invitation joyfully. He may call men from their farms, from their merchandise, and from their various trades, and send them forth to warn the world.

With the love of Christ in the heart, Christians will work. All who have made a profession of Christ have virtually pledged themselves to preach the gospel of salvation to sinners. Some may never be required to stand in the pulpit; but there are many ways to preach Christ. By deeds, by a godly, consistent life, and by letting our light shine forth to others, we may preach Christ. In acts of self-denial for others’ good, and showing a love for precious souls that is paramount to love for riches or earthly enjoyment, we may preach Christ.

In doing the works of Christ, the Christian worker will become strong in spiritual strength. God is a present help in every time of need. Those who work for the salvation of souls feel their inefficiency and lack of heavenly wisdom, and in their emergency they flee to their tower of strength, and God meets their necessities, and they are obtaining a valuable experience. They are gaining spiritual strength, and growing in the knowledge of the truth. They are not spiritual dwarfs, or bodies of death; but are shining lights, gathering daily strength from God, and conferring blessings upon others.

Jenny @ 6:02 pm
August 28, 1879 The Sufferings of Christ
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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(Concluded.)

felt much as will feel when the vials of shall be poured out upon them. Black like a pall of will gather about their guilty , and then they will realize to the fullest extent the of . has been purchased for them by the and of the . It might be theirs if they would accept of it willingly, gladly; but none are compelled to yield to the . If they refuse the benefit, if they choose the and of , they can have their choice, and at the end receive their wages, which is the and . They will be , separated from the presence of , whose they had despised. They will have lost a life of , and sacrificed , for the for a season.

and trembled in the expiring agonies of Christ, because had removed the assurance he had heretofore given his beloved Son of his approbation and acceptance. The of the world then relied upon the evidences which had hitherto strengthened him, that his Father accepted his labors and was pleased with his work. In his dying agony, as he yields up his precious life, he has by faith alone to trust in Him whom it has ever been his joy to obey. He is not cheered with clear, bright rays of hope on the right hand nor on the left. All is enshrouded in oppressive gloom. Amid the awful darkness which is felt even by sympathizing nature, the Redeemer drains the mysterious cup to its dregs. Denied even bright hope and confidence in the triumph which will be his in the near future, he cries with a loud voice, “Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” He is acquainted with the character of his Father, his justice, his mercy, and great love. In submission he drops into the hands of his Father. Amid the convulsions of nature are heard by the amazed spectators the dying words of the Man of Calvary, “It is finished.”

Nature sympathized with the sufferings of its Author. The heaving earth, the rent rocks, and the terrific darkness, proclaimed that it was the Son of God that died. There was a mighty earthquake. The vail of the temple was rent in twain. Terror seized the executioners and spectators as they beheld the sun veiled in darkness, and felt the earth shake beneath them, and saw and heard the rending of the rocks. The mocking and jeering of the chief priests and elders was hushed as Christ commended his spirit into the hands of his Father. The astonished throng began to withdraw, and grope their way in the darkness to the city. They smote upon their breasts as they went, and in terror, speaking scarcely above a whisper, said among themselves, “It is an innocent person that has been murdered. What if, indeed, he is, as he asserted, the Son of God?”

Jesus did not yield up his life till he had accomplished the work which he came to do, and exclaimed with his departing breath, “It is finished!” Satan was then defeated. He knew that his kingdom was lost. Angels rejoiced as the words were uttered, “It is finished.” The great plan of redemption, which was dependent on the death of Christ, had thus far been carried out. And there was joy in Heaven that the sons of Adam could, through a life of obedience, be finally exalted to the throne of God. Oh, what love! What amazing love! that brought the Son of God to earth to be made sin for us, that we might be reconciled to God, and elevated to a life with him in his mansions in glory. And oh! what is man that such a price should be paid for his redemption?

When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of Heaven in dying in man’s stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified, and reflections of Calvary will awaken sacred and living emotions in the Christian’s heart. Praises to God and the Lamb will be in their hearts and upon their lips. Pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the hearts that keep fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary. This world will appear of but little value to those who appreciate the great price of man’s redemption.

All the riches of the world are not of sufficient value to redeem one perishing soul. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world, as he hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable, infinite. 

Christ has shown that his love was stronger than death. Even when suffering the most fearful conflicts with the powers of darkness, his love for perishing sinners increased. He endured the hidings of his Father’s countenance, until he was led to exclaim in the bitterness of his soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” His arm brought salvation. The price was paid to purchase the redemption of man, when, in the last soul-struggle, the blessed words were uttered, which seemed to resound through creation, “It is finished.”

Many who profess to be Christians become excited over worldly enterprises, and their interest is awakened for new and exciting amusements, while they are cold-hearted, and appear as if frozen in the cause of God. But here is a theme, poor formalist, which is of sufficient importance to excite you. Eternal interests are here involved. The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotions. Upon this subject you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm. That Christ, so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such a painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully reach, so that we can comprehend the length, the breadth, the height, and the depth, of such amazing love. The contemplation of the matchless love of the Saviour, should fill and absorb the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character. The language of the apostle is, “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.” And we may look toward Calvary, and also exclaim, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Considering at what an immense cost our salvation has been purchased, what will be the portion of those who neglect so great salvation? What will be the punishment of those who profess to be followers of Christ, yet fail to bow in humble obedience to the claims of their Redeemer, and who do not take the cross, as humble disciples of Christ!

Some have limited views of the atonement. They think that Christ suffered only a small portion of the penalty of the law of God, and that while the wrath of God was felt by his dear Son, they suppose that he had, through all his painful sufferings, the evidence of his Father’s love and acceptance, and that the portals of the tomb before him were illuminated with bright hope. Here is a great mistake. Christ’s keenest anguish was a sense of his Father’s displeasure. His mental agony because of this was of such intensity that man can have but faint conception of it.

With many the history of the humiliation and sacrifice of our divine Lord does not stir the soul and affect the life any more, nor awaken deeper interest, than to read of the death of the martyrs of Jesus. Many have suffered death by slow tortures. Others have suffered death by crucifixion. In what does the death of God’s dear Son differ from these? It is true he died upon the cross a most cruel death; yet others for his dear sake have suffered equally, as far as bodily torture is concerned. Why, then, was the suffering of Christ more dreadful than that of other persons who have yielded their lives for his sake? If the sufferings of Christ consisted in physical pain alone, then his death was no more painful than that of some of the martyrs.

But bodily pain was only a small part of the agony of God’s dear Son. The sins of the world were upon him, and also the sense of his Father’s wrath as he suffered the penalty of the law. It was these that crushed his divine soul. It was the hiding of his Father’s face, a sense that his own dear Father had forsaken him, which brought despair. The separation that sin makes between God and man was fully realized and keenly felt by the innocent, suffering Man of Calvary. He was oppressed by the powers of darkness. He had not one ray of light to brighten the future. And he was struggling with the power of Satan, who was declaring that Christ was in his hands, and that he was superior in strength to the Son of God, that God had disowned his Son, and that he was no longer in the favor of God any more than himself. If he was indeed still in favor with God, why need he die? God could save him from death.

Christ yielded not in the least degree to the torturing foe, even in his bitterest anguish. Legions of evil angels were all about the Son of God, yet the holy angels were bidden not to break their ranks and engage in conflict with the taunting, reviling foe. Heavenly angels were not permitted to minister unto the anguished spirit of the Son of God. It was in this terrible hour of darkness, the face of his Father hidden, legions of evil angels enshrouding him, the sins of the world upon him, that the words were wrenched from his lips, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

We should take larger, broader, and deeper views of the life, sufferings, and death of God’s dear Son. When the atonement is viewed correctly, the salvation of souls will be felt to be of infinite value. In comparison with the worth of everlasting life everything else sinks into insignificance. But how have the counsels of this loving Saviour been despised by many. The heart’s devotions have been to the world, and selfish interests have closed the door against the Son of God. Hollow hypocrisy and pride, selfishness and gain, envy, malice, and passion, have so filled the hearts of many that Christ can have no room.

He was eternally rich, “yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.” He was clothed with light and glory, surrounded with hosts of heavenly angels awaiting to execute his commands. Yet he put on our nature, and came to sojourn among sinful men. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” Here is love that no language can express. Our souls should be enlivened, elevated, and enraptured with the theme of the love of the Father and the Son. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The followers of Christ should learn here to reflect back in some degree that mysterious love, preparatory to joining all the redeemed in ascribing “Blessings, and honor, and glory, and power unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”

Jenny @ 5:55 pm
April 24, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                     Chapter Twelve–Continued.
                            and .
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                             By Mrs. E. G. White.
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One reason why does not bestow more and larger upon his people is that they would not appreciate them and render to God the things that are God’s. Every should often review his past , and never should he forget the precious which God has wrought for him, supporting him in , consoling him in , opening ways for him when all seemed dark and forbidding, refreshing him when ready to faint under discouragements. And in view of all these innumerable , he should be melted and subdued, and . He may well exclaim, “What shall I render unto for all his benefits toward me?” The rendering to God will not be merely in words of , but in and . The Christian will practice and to make returns to God. 

The conduct of Esau in selling his represents the course of the , who consider the purchased for them by of little value, and their heirship to Heaven for perishable treasures. Many are controlled by inclination, and rather than deny an unhealthy appetite, they will sacrifice high and valuable considerations. If one must be yielded, the gratification of a depraved appetite, or the high and heavenly blessings which God promises only to the self-denying and God-fearing, the clamors of appetite, as in the case of Esau, will generally prevail, and for self-gratification, God and Heaven will be virtually despised. Even professed Christians will use tea, coffee, snuff, tobacco, and spirits, all of which benumb the finer sensibilities of the soul. If you tell them they cannot have Heaven and these hurtful indulgences, and that they should cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they are offended, and conclude that if the way is so straight that they cannot indulge their gross appetites, they will no longer walk therein.

Especially will the corrupt passions control the mind of those who consider Heaven of so little worth. Health will be sacrificed, the mental faculties enfeebled, and Heaven will be sold for these pleasures, as Esau sold his birthright. This case is left on record as a warning to others. Esau was a reckless person. He made a solemn oath that Jacob should have his birthright. Yet when he learned that his brother had obtained the blessing which would have belonged to him, had he not rashly sold it, he was greatly distressed. He had repented of his rash act, when it was too late to remedy the matter. Thus it will be in the day of God with sinners, who have bartered away their heirship to Heaven for selfish gratifications and hurtful lusts. They will then find no place for repentance, although, like Esau, they may seek it carefully and with tears. 

Jacob was not happy in his marriage relation, although his wives were sisters. He formed the contract with Laban for his daughter Rachel, whom he loved, but after he had served seven years for her, Laban, wishing to retain his faithful services a greater length of time, deceived him, and gave him Leah. When Jacob realized the deception that had been practiced upon him, and that Leah had acted her part in deceiving him, he could not love her, and he reproved his father-in-law for thus trifling with his affections. Laban entreated him not to put away Leah, for this was considered a great disgrace, not only to the wife, but to the whole family. Jacob was placed in a most trying position; but he decided still to retain Leah, and also to marry her sister. Yet Leah was loved in a much less degree than Rachel.

Laban was selfish in his dealings with Jacob, and thought only of advantaging himself by his faithful labors. Jacob would have left the artful Laban long before, but he was afraid of encountering Esau. He heard the complaint of Laban’s sons, “Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before.”

Jacob was greatly distressed. He knew not which way to turn. He carries his case to God, and intercedes for direction from him, and the Lord mercifully answers his prayer. “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” Jacob now called his two wives to the field, where there could be a secret consultation without danger of being overhead, and said, “I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.” Jacob then related to them the dream given him of God, to leave Laban and go unto his kindred. Rachel and Leah replied, expressing their dissatisfaction with their father’s proceedings, “Is there yet any portion of inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not counted of him as strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s; now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.”

Anciently it was customary for the bridegroom to pay a sum of money, according to his circumstances, to the father of his wife. If he had no money, nor anything of value, his labor was accepted for a stated length of time before he could obtain the daughter as his wife. This custom was deemed a safeguard to the marriage contract. Fathers did not consider it safe to trust the happiness of their daughters to men who had not made sufficient provision to take care of a family. If they had not ability to manage business, to acquire cattle or lands, it was feared that their lives would be worthless. But that the truly worthy might not become discouraged, a provision was made to test the worth of those who had nothing of value to pay for a wife. They were permitted to labor for the father whose daughter they loved. Their labors were engaged for a certain length of time, regulated by the value of the dowry required for the daughter. In doing this, marriage was not hasty, as there was opportunity to test the depth of affections of the suitor. If he was faithful in his services, and was otherwise considered worthy, the daughter was given him as his wife. And, generally, all the dowry the father had received was given to his daughter at her marriage.

What a contrast to the course now pursued by parents and children! There are many unhappy marriages because of so much haste. Two unite their interests at the marriage altar, by most solemn vows before God, without previously weighing the matter, and devoting time to sober reflection and earnest prayer. Many move from impulse. They have no thorough acquaintance with the dispositions of each other. They do not realize that the happiness of their life is at stake. If they move wrong in this matter, and their married life proves unhappy, it cannot be taken back. If they find they are not calculated to make each other happy, they must endure it as best they can. In some instances the husband proves to be too indolent to provide for a family, and his wife and children suffer. If the ability of such had been proved, as was the custom anciently, before marriage, much misery would have been saved. In the case of Rachel and Leah, Laban selfishly kept the dowry which should have been given to them. They have reference to this when they say, “He hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.”
                        (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 10:38 am